WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama said on Saturday that a framework nuclear deal reached with Iran this week would make the world a safer place.
In his weekly radio address, President Obama said the historic plan of action concluded on Thursday would prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and “will make our country, our allies, and our world safer”.
The president also responded to some of the objections from congressional critics of the deal, who said that he was mistaken in trusting Iran to implement the agreement.
“This deal is not based on trust, it’s based on unprecedented verification,” Mr Obama said.
“Iran will never be permitted to develop a nuclear weapon.”
The framework agreement between Iran and six world powers is designed to provide Tehran relief from international sanctions in exchange for curbs on its nuclear programme.
President Obama said that any relief from economic sanctions will be phased in and that penalties in place over Iran’s support for terrorism, human rights abuses and missile development will remain in force.
In another statement, the White House assured American people that the deal “meets our core objectives of cutting off every pathway that Iran could take to develop a nuclear weapon”.
President Obama reiterated that the deal was not yet done — and if there’s backsliding from Iran in the months to come, there will be no deal. He promised to continue to fully brief Congress and the American people on the substance and progress of the negotiations in the months to come.
“International inspectors will have unprecedented access to Iran’s nuclear program because Iran will face more inspections than any other country,” he said. “If Iran cheats, the world will know it.”
The agreement was more than five years in the making and came at the end of eight days of intensive talks in Lausanne, Switzerland. It sets the stage for a final agreement by June 30.
CONGRESS ROLE: Also on Saturday, the White House announced on Saturday that President Obama was contacting all four leaders of Congress — two Republicans and two Democrats — to explain the deal.
Republicans have vowed to oppose the deal and plan to introduce a bill in the Senate on April 14 that will place new restrictions on President Obama’s powers to finalise the agreement.
Published in Dawn, April 5th, 2015